I met Manreet Sodhi Someshwar at the Hyderabad book reading session of The Taj Conspiracy on the 12th of this month. I have been meaning to do a post on that since. But, lots of challenges cropped up on the home front needing my complete attention. Some of the excitement from the memory has died down. I still hope to capture that feeling here.
On the day of the event I logged into twitter early in the morning to check if any further details had been posted about the event. Manreet tweeted that there would be a book reading at Pune. My heart stopped for a second. I had been planning this day for the past two weeks. I quickly called Landmark, Hyderabad and they confirmed that the event was on. It had been a simple error. The Pune book reading had been the day before. What a relief!
In the evening, I walked in with both kids tagging along. My parents had kindly agreed to accompany me to help entertain the kids while I focussed on the event. I found the beautiful Manreet Sodhi Someshwar sitting with two others, chatting. All the other chairs were unoccupied. I walked up and introduced myself. She was charming and gracious. She patiently answered all my questions on writing and publishing. She advised me to keep going even when things got tough. With young children around it will be more difficult, she said. You just have to keep working.
My little girl was smitten. She wanted to know all about the dolphin bracelet that Manreet wore. Manreet’s daughter had made it for her and wanted her to wear it to all book promotional events. It was her special good luck charm.
The discussion started and I kicked myself for not completing The Taj Conspiracy as I had earlier planned. A young man in the front row had and thanks to him the discussed was evenly balanced. T.S. Sudhir asked her about the research, writing and her plans for the next book. Manreet was her eloquent best in answering all the questions. She told us that she had gotten to know Mehrunisa Khosa, the protagonist, so well in these past five years that she wanted to write more books with her in them. This book was therefore the first in a trilogy.
My daughter whispered to me asking why I didn’t hurry up and finish my book so that I could be on stage too, discussing my story. I informed her that it took Manreet five years to complete The Taj Conspiracy, conveniently leaving out the fact that my novel didn’t require as much research.
The discussion was over too soon for me. Manreet had an international flight to catch. Some people were getting their copies of the book signed. I had mine signed earlier.
Just before leaving I walked up to Manreet to say goodbye. I asked if there were plans to promote The Taj Conspiracy internationally too.
“Inshallah”, she smiled.
Manreet, for your dreams and mine, Inshallah!